Ray Grist: Catalog of Works
Ray Grist: Catalog of Works
Research Center for Arts and Culture
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Artist's statement: "I began painting in my early teen years. I wanted to know what a painting is, or so I described my impulse to myself. My first painting was a copy of a small still life by the Daunier Rousseau. I tried to 'understand' his painting, to analyze it (as much as I could analyze a painting then). I look at, and tried to study the works of Cezanne. He had been introduced to me as the 'Grandfather of modern painting.' I looked at, and read about the works of Kandinsky, Picasso, Braque, and Matisse, Pollock, Gorky, Lam, Bearden, Norman Lewis, Khalil. I read Roger Fry, Clive Bell, Kandinsky, Klee, Harold Rosenberg, Duveen, and many other writers on Art, When I was in my early 20â€™s I went to Madrid to live. Every day I went to the Prado and made drawings from the works of Rubens, Titian, et al. Always my approach to these investigations, and to my own attempts at painting, was intellectual and analytical. I looked at my question, and at paintings with seriousness and with efforts at understanding. From 1962 until 1964 I served in the US Army. After leaving the Army I decided to give my focus to being a painter. In 1969 I was invited by the Austrian government to take part in International Symposium. This was a gathering of painters and sculptors form many countries at Eisenstadt, Austria for 8 weeks. During this time we each created works and exchanged perceptions and ideas. It was here that I recognized that I was taking my investigations into 'what is a painting' far too seriously. I wasnâ€™t having any fun with painting. So I decided to change my mind and open up, loosen up, with the painting. At the end of 8 weeks we had a large exhibition of the works, which we had done. It was the first time that I had shown my works in a public exhibition. After Austria I returned to NY. During 1969-70 I had my first exhibitions in New York, at the Studio Museum in Harlem and then at the Cinque Gallery. I studied Printmaking at the Bob Blackburn Printmakers Workshop, and then with Mohammad Khalil, in whose studio I did etching for 13 years. During these years my efforts continued to open and be responsive to the work in front of me. Since returning from Austria my habit has been to use paper palettes for my work. Each time I use a paper palette I am starting anew work. With all of these used palettes lying around (as new paintings) I started including them in my painting. The palette becomes the beginning of the next work. This awareness enables me to know that a painting is a surface with paint on it. Now after more than 50 years of being a painter I know what a painting is."
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Ray Grist: Catalog of Works, Columbia University Academic Commons,